Want to share your idea for a reading promotion project with others? To celebrate the Library of Congress's Bicentennial in 2000, the Center for the Book is posting brief descriptions of reading promotion projects from around the nation on its Web site (www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook). This effort brings to a close the center's four-year "Building a Nation of Readers" national reading promotion campaign. Libraries, schools, educational and civic groups, government organizations, corporations and other groups are invited to participate. Each organization is limited to one project description, which should be described in no more than 50 words and be submitted no later than April 10, 2000. The entry should include the name of the sponsoring organization and where the project occurred.
A description form is available on the center's Web site. It can be faxed to (202) 707-0269 or mailed to: Reading Promotion Projects, Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920. The form is also included in a Library of Congress Bicentennial Toolkit for libraries that is available without charge from the Library of Congress by calling (800) 707-7145 or (202) 707-2000 or from the Web site at: www.loc.gov/bicentennial/ (see story this issue).
Alaska's 'Writing Rendezvous' Is Big Hit
The 1999 version of "Writing Rendezvous," the Alaska Center for the Book's annual celebration of writers and writing, held on April 16-18, broke all previous attendance records. More than 230 people participated in the conference, which is now in its sixth year. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder launched the proceedings with a reading on April 16 and concluded the conference with a talk on April 18. Both of his appearances were sponsored by the Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts of the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
Between Mr. Kidder's two presentations, participants took part in 19 workshops, public readings, a poetry "slam" and an awards dinner. Twenty-nine local organizations and business firms sponsored the Sixth Annual Writing Rendezvous.
The Alaska Center for the Book was established as a Library of Congress affiliate in 1991. Its purpose is to "stimulate public interest in literacy through the spoken and written word." Freelance writer Kaylene Johnson is its president. For information about the Writing Rendezvous celebration, membership and other activities, write the Alaska center at 3600 Denali St., Anchorage, AK 99503-6093; fax: (907) 278-8839.
Fall Book and Author Events Announced
Many of the 36 state centers for the book affiliated with the Library of Congress national center focus their activities around annual celebrations of a state's book culture and particularly the state's authors. Four such events this fall are: the Virginia Center for the Book's annual celebration honoring the state's authors, to be held with the Library of Virginia in Richmond on Sept.18; the Southern Festival of Books, a project of the Tennessee Humanities Council and the Tennessee Center for Book, which takes place in Nashville on Oct. 8-10; the Missouri Center for the Book's Third Celebration of the Book, featuring the theme "Books and Bytes: The Book of the Future," and taking place in Columbia on Nov. 5-6; and the Colorado Center for the Book's Rocky Mountain Book Fair, to be held in Denver on Nov. 18-20. For further information, consult the Center for the Book's Web site.
Oklahoma Marks 10 Years of Book Awards
Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole received a distinguished service award on March 13 at the 10th annual Oklahoma Book Awards ceremony, which was held at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the evening featured a retrospective slide show of 10 years of the Oklahoma center's activities. The winner of the 1999 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the University of Oklahoma historian who was the first president of the Oklahoma center, was writer and historian Michael Wallis (left, on the cover of the awards program). For further information, visit Oklahoma's Web site at www.odl.state.ok.us/ocb.
Montana Center for the Book Has New Home
In April the Montana Center for the Book moved to the Montana Committee for the Humanities in Missoula. Based at the University of Montana, the committee is the state's independent nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Established in 1990, the Montana center previously has been hosted by the Montana State Library and the Lewis and Clark Public Library. Two of the center's significant projects have been "Against the Grain: Organizing Montana's Writers," a 1994 conference, and the anthology Writing Montana: Literature Under the Big Sky, published by the center in 1996 and distributed by Falcon Publishing.
"We are delighted to become the new home of the Montana Center for the Book, said Stephen Fenter of Billings, the committee chair. "Appreciation of Montana's great literature always has been a priority of the committee, and we are excited about the opportunity to forge new links in support of Montana's writers, readers and libraries." This new relationship is a natural combination of interests, commitments and resources that will benefit all Montanans."
For further information, contact Mark A. Sherouse, executive director, Montana Committee for the Humanities, 311 Brantly, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812-8214; telephone (406) 243-6022; fax: (406) 243-4836, email firstname.lastname@example.org. edu, www.umt.edu/montanabook.
Maryland Honors Its Authors and Artists
"A Literary Party with Pizzazz" is how the Maryland Center for the Book and Howard County Library described their "Evening in the Stacks" benefit at the East Columbia Branch Library in Columbia on Feb. 27. Poetry, jazz, author readings, book signings, art displays and dance performances highlighted the evening, which was sponsored by The Washington Post and more than two dozen other business firms and civic organizations.
"The Maryland center's goal is to bring the world of ideas fostered in books into the thoughts and lives of Marylanders," said Maryland Center for the Book coordinator Pat Bates. "Our annual Evening in the Stacks does this while celebrating the creativity of our own poets, authors and artists."
Center for the Book Director John Cole introduced three poets who read from the works in the Poetry Garden: Reuben Jackson, a Washington, D.C., resident and author of the collection Fingering the Keys; Baltimore resident Elizabeth Spires, who teaches at Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University and has written four collections of poetry and the recent children's book The Mouse of Amherst; and Edgar Silex, director of the Baltimore Literacy Center, a College Park resident and the author of two poetry collections. The Authors' Atrium was the scene of two lively panel discussions featuring four area authors: romance and adventure writer Robyn Amos, novelist Carrie Brown, investigative journalist Gus Russo and mystery writer David Simon.
For information about the Maryland Center for the Book, contact Pat Bates, Howard County Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045; telephone: (410) 313-7768; fax: (410) 313-7742.
Forthcoming Books & Beyond Author Talks
- Ronald B. Shwartz, For the Love of Books, Sept. 29, noon, West Dining Room, Madison Building.
- Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia, Nov. 2, 6 p.m., West Dining Room.